Skip to comments.Constitution Check: Is devotion to the Constitution destroying democracy?
Posted on 11/12/2013 9:34:16 AM PST by NormsRevenge
Lyle Denniston looks at a claim that interpreting an old document, like the U.S. Constitution, is a doomed attempt to apply outdated legal principles.
THE STATEMENT AT ISSUE:
Professor Neuborne describes this dysfunctional democracy very well, but he does not give the real reason for that dysfunction the reverence for the United States Constitution. Each of the Supreme Courts iniquities he lists is based on the interpretation by five of nine high priests of increasingly irrelevant documents written by wealthy white men in an unimaginably different and distant world.
WE CHECKED THE CONSTITUTION, AND
One of the fundamental issues that deeply divides the nine Justices now serving on the Supreme Court is the proper way to interpret the Constitutions meaning for todays world. Some of the Justices believe that the key is the original meaning of the document that is, as it was understood in 1787. Others believe that the document is a living Constitution that is adaptable to changing times and thus acquires new meaning from time to time.
No one expects that disagreement ever to be finally resolved. At the same time, all of the Justices agree that the Constitution embodies enduring principles, and that it is the duty of judges in this country to apply them. Even a sincere devotion to those principles, though, is bound to produce disagreements about their contemporary meaning.
What is often misunderstood about the process of constitutional reasoning is that the Constitution itself does not provide all of the necessary answers to any legal problem that turns on enduring principles. No document, and certainly no legal document, can always be understood by its literal meaning. Words are means of expressing ideas, and the same words can mean different things to different judges.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
Lyle Denniston is the National Constitution Centers adviser on constitutional literacy. He has reported on the Supreme Court for 55 years, currently covering it for SCOTUSblog, an online clearinghouse of information about the Supreme Courts work.
for your consideration and comment.
Libs and others try the same logic with the Bible. Both works were created in a way that they span time.
Devotion to the Constitution preserves republican government, which is the point.
No, devotion to democracy is destroying the Constitution.
There is nothing wrong with the Constitution. The logic used internally works just fine.
It only starts to come apart as people try to invent crap to get around it.
Like this “democracy” crap. We are NOT a “democracy”. We are a Republic.
Why ever have a Constitution? Our Constitution is timeless. Communists want to be timeless. The Constitution ruins their evil plans.
Ignoring the Constitution is what is destroying the Representative Republic.
The Constitution is explicitly anti-democracy.
I would hope so since America was set up as a Constitutional representative republic, not a democracy. The Founding Fathers hated and abhorred democracy.
Yes, yes it is! And it’s about damn time! Let’s restore the Republic!
“Lyle Denniston is the National Constitution Centers adviser on constitutional literacy.”
Who does not seem to realize that this is not a democracy but a democratic REPUBLIC.
“National Constitution Center” Huh, This “outfit’s” “
Board of Trustees” looks like a Whose-Who is Elitist HACKS:
If someone is of the opinion that that Constitution needs changing, the method is clear; amend it according to the rules set forth in the Constitution. As amended, it remains a contract between the States and the Federal Government, and as long as there are States in the United States it needs to be observed as written, as do all written contracts. If the words in the Constitution don’t mean anything, then the words in all other contracts don’t mean anything, nor do they in law. Words may not be perfect or immortal, but they are all we have to communicate and come to agreement.
Only the Liberal version of the Constitution.
The Founding Fathers Rejected Democracy
Democracy is Mob Absolutism
America is a Constitutional Republic, not a Democracy!
Todd Akin says The Founding Fathers despised Democracy
(It’s difficult to believe that the Kos Kiddies actually posted this on their own website.)
The Constitution was written to prevent democracy, thus ensuring freedom, essential rights, and the retardation of tyranny.
We do not live in a “democracy”. Professor Neuborne needs to take a remedial America 101.
The Constitution was designed to destroy democracy.
Democracy is not exactly the virtue that it has been touted to be. Sure, the word is rooted in the Greek term for “rule by the people”, but the determination, of just exactly who “the people” should be limited to, has changed, seemingly by almost every person in the world who has chosen to use the term.
Everybody who happens to be within a particular region? Only individuals over that age of twenty-one (or eighteen, or twenty-five, or sixty)? Only to one gender, or both, or however many more can be “invented”? Should domesticated animals be included, and if so, why not the feral and undomesticated creatures that happen to dwell in close proximity? Should be there be some test of mental capability, or is that just “prejudice” on the part of the folks who determine things?
Democracy can run amok if it is permitted to.
Keep in mind that democracy wasn’t pushed into this country until the early 1900s particularly with the Woodrow Wilson administration using his famous making the world “safe for democracy” catchphrase during WWI.
The American system is not a democracy. It is a constitutional republic. A democracy, if you attach meaning to terms, is a system of unlimited majority rule; the classic example is ancient Athens. And the symbol of it is the fate of Socrates, who was put to death legally, because the majority didnt like what he was saying, although he had initiated no force and had violated no ones rights.
Democracy, in short, is a form of collectivism, which denies individual rights: the majority can do whatever it wants with no restrictions. In principle, the democratic government is all-powerful. Democracy is a totalitarian manifestation; it is not a form of freedom . . . .
The American system is a constitutionally limited republic, restricted to the protection of individual rights. In such a system, majority rule is applicable only to lesser details, such as the selection of certain personnel. But the majority has no say over the basic principles governing the government. It has no power to ask for or gain the infringement of individual rights.
“Like this democracy crap.”
Right. Notice that libs support any crazy repressive regime, even the Muslim Brotherhood, as long as they can gloat “democratically elected,” especially if the election had been certified by Peanuts Carter.
I’d say the communist manifesto is also a very old document written by white men in a different world. Does this mean we can fire every left winger in Washington?
Don’t dare ask for an I.D. card! That’s just plain Racist!
I don’t give a rat’s patooty about democracy. Fidelity to the Constitution will preserve our Republic and limit it’s scope and power while defending the sovereignty of the people.
Libs have brainwashed the entire country into thinking otherwise.
"It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this.
The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity."
Speech in New York, urging ratification of the U.S. Constitution (1788-06-21)
> Constitution Check: Is devotion to the Constitution
> destroying democracy?
I would certainly hope so!
Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for lunch.
In a Constitutional Republic, the wolves are limited by the Constitution and the sheep are armed.
And they continue to do soo.
Non issue. We don not live in a Democracy so there is none to destroy. We live in a Representative Republic.
Professor Neuborne is actually correct, but not for the reason he believes.
The Constitution provided for a strictly limited federal government, with everything else left to the States. It is entirely adequate, as amended, to function as intended.
The problem is that for the last 100+ years more and more people have desired a government that “runs the country” in the way European social-democratic governments do. With the parliamentary system of these countries, a party that wins an election controls both the executive and legislative branches and can quickly put into practice the platform it campaigned on. If the voters don’t like the results, they can elect another party at the next election, and it gets the chance to fully implement its policies.
Our system is specifically designed to keep this from happening. Checks and balances and all that. Fine for the limited scope of government for which it was designed, but just not adequate to “run the country.”
Which means we have just a few choices:
Amend or replace the Constitution to specifically put in place a system that is capable of efficiently “running the country.”
Ignore or “interpret” the existing Constitution so the government can function somewhat effectively at “running the country.” This is what we have done for the last 100 years, more and more as time goes by.
Return to the original intent of the Founders, with the government limited to a few specific functions that can be easily handled by the intentionally inefficient government the Constitution provides. That’s what I would prefer, but it seems a considerable majority of my fellow countrymen disagree.
Nothing can hold the Republic together more than adhering to the Constitution.
> Democracy can run amok if it is permitted to.
It already has. The system has been gamed. Why do you think they want to grant free amnesty to illegal aliens while at the same time our Southern border is being permeated by large numbers of Muslims that are coming in through the Mexico border in large numbers posing as Mexicans because they look so similar? We under invasion by an administration that is encouraging it to retain their power.
A proof of the axiom of a sucker being born (at least) every second and good intentions paving the road. The concept of "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" collapses the minute self-interest comes into play. The fact that Mr.s Marx & Engels have yet to be consigned to the ashcan of history convinces me that there is deviltry in this world let alone the Devil!
Democracy is mob rule. We are a Constitutional Republic.
One is always the converse antithesis of the other.
I agree with Dead Corpse that there is basically nothing wrong with the Constitution. The main reason that the Constitution gets questioned is that the corrupt, unconstitutionally big federal government doesn’t want constitutonally ignorant voters to find out that the main purpose of the Constitution is to limit the federal government’s powers.
I don’t believe the Constitution has anything to do with ‘democracy’.
‘Democracy’ is the term that the moderates and liberals have cottoned to which they believes somehow connotes this miasma in which we now reside. They think it’s such a blessed thing that they want to make certain it’s exported to those countries we’ve invaded that don’t want it.
Our democracy means we get a complete jackass as president and another one as Chief Justice and an entire retinue of jerks who prance about the floors of Congress in front of C-Span cameras convincing themselves that they’re representing the people who were stupid enough to pull a lever and get them there!
Our ‘democracy’ means that we have an onerous IRS and a completely defiled military. It means we listen to the sentences of those we dare call allies. But then all of our conversations and writings are being read and noted by a faceless bureaucracy.
Those of us lucky enough might be able to clear out of this democratic paradise, but those of us who are forced to remain here in a 50 state gulag and better get busy trying to rip out everything that’s transpired since 1912.
If anyone is confused about what the Founding Fathers meant when they designed the Constitution all they need to do is read the federalist papers.
The issue is IMHO, one that cuts to the foundation of belief or the basis of laws.
“Rights granted by man or a Creator”
Rights granted be man have been gaining more and more acceptance over the past 100 years, to be certain, while rights granted by a Creator have lost ground.
It is ironic that both require “faith” in our fellow man.
In the case of faith in government run by people, it seems to have devolved into fear and insecurity.
As for the case of rights by a Creator, the faith is in ones self and certainty of human nature.
Liberals are fundamentally insecure. They are children that have found a political voice. They don’t do the hard work or address the difficult questions that have historically advanced society.
Relativism and their fear of being judgmental is at the top of their concerns.
They don’t trust people that can clearly define an issue.
“Is devotion to the Constitution destroying democracy?”
Gosh, I certainly hope so. This isn’t supposed to be a “democracy.”
Federalist, anti-Federalist and Constitution ping. Good article and good discussion.